Ricotta-Mascarpone Mousse with Balsamic Strawberries

Valentine's DayGluten-FreeRicottaStrawberry

A beautiful blend of fresh strawberries, aged balsamic vinegar, and a hint of sugar, topped with a ricotta-mascarpone mousse.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Ever stumble upon something that everyone else seems to know about or has tried, but for you it’s a brand new oh-my-gosh discovery, and then you feel like an idiot, because, where have you been?

For me, that something was the combination of fresh strawberries, sugar and balsamic vinegar. I’ve certainly heard rumblings about it (check out some of the links at the end of this recipe), but the idea of adding any kind of vinegar to strawberries just didn’t seem right. How wonderful to be oh-so-wrong.


Of course you do need to use balsamic vinegar, an aged, deeply flavored, somewhat sweet vinegar; an ordinary vinegar probably won’t taste that good; if that’s all you have use some grated lemon zest and a little lemon juice instead.

The mousse is extremely easy to make – folded together whipped cream, mascarpone and ricotta cheeses. This recipe is based on one from our local Sacramento food celebrity chef, Biba Caggiano, and is a great mostly make-ahead recipe for summer entertaining.

Ricotta-Mascarpone Mousse with Balsamic Strawberries Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Chilling time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Serves 8


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, or to taste


1 In a medium bowl, beat the cream until soft peaks form.

2 In a large bowl combine the ricotta, mascarpone, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and lemon zest. Using an electric beater, whip the ricotta-mascarpone mixture until thoroughly combined and smooth.

3 Gradually fold the whipped cream into the ricotta until the mixture is smooth. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

4 Put strawberries in another bowl. Half an hour before serving gently mix in the remaining sugar and balsamic vinegar. Make sure you don't let the strawberries sit in the balsamic vinegar much longer than 30 minutes before serving or the acidity of the vinegar will cook the strawberries.

5 When you are ready to serve, fill glass bowls halfway with the strawberries and their juices. Spoon on the ricotta-mascarpone mousse or use a pastry bag to pipe the mousse.

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Early strawberries in balsamic vinegar from Maki of Just Hungry

Honey-balsamic strawberries with vanilla mascarpone from Anne of Anne's Food

Showing 4 of 21 Comments / Reviews

  • Sandi

    How would I save a favorite recipe you post to a recipe box for future, instead of printing it? Is there a place on your website? Love your recipes!

  • Felicia

    A friend of mine picked up a bottle of 18 year old balsamic vinegar at a wine shop and I made a similar dessert with it – the strawberries marinated in the vinegar for a few hours and then we topped it with a marscapone based topping – similar to the consistency of zabaglione. The combination of the sweet acidity of the vinegar and the creaminess of the marscapone is simply divine. Yum! I will have to give this mousse a try as the topping next time.

  • cab

    I had forgotten about basalmic vinegar on strawberries. I used to serve strawberries that way all the time. Then I moved to topping strawberries with a dollop of Trader Joe’s 0%fat, greek yoghurt and a teensy sprinkling of brown sugar. Marscapone here I come!

  • Mercedes

    I adore mascarpone mousse, and the addition of ricotta is just perfect. I once had a balsamic ice cream paired with strawberries, it was divine.

  • Jane

    I make something similar for a no fuss slightly fancy looking dessert. I put 1/4 C. of Balsamic and 1/4 C. of honey in a pan on medium heat and reduce to a nice syrup. I lightly sugar the strawberries and let them macerate for an hour or so in the fridge. I serve them in a compote with a generous drizzle of the syrup and some fresh whipped cream or a mascarpone/whipped cream. I will have to try your mousse though – it sounds divine.

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